Current Affairs Sep 2017 - International


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News 1 - US President Trump names James Bridenstine to head NASA

US President Trump

US President Donald Trump has announced to appoint James Bridenstine, a former navy pilot and Republican congressional representative, to head the US space agency NASA.

The space agency is involved in all aspects of space exploration, as well as in Earth observation missions from space and in the development of new aerospace concepts.

NASA is currently developing a heavy launcher and capsule capable of taking astronauts to Mars in 2030 and beyond.

News 2 - Donald Trump nominates Kenneth Juster as US ambassador to India

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump announced to nominate Kenneth I Juster, a top economic aide and an expert on India, as the US Ambassador to India. Juster, who is the Deputy Assistant to the US President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of his National Economic Council, would replace Richard Verma if nominated and confirmed by the Senate.

Juster has previously served as Under Secretary of Commerce from 2001-2005, Counsellor of the State Department from 1992-1993 and Deputy and senior Adviser to the Deputy Secretary of State from 1989-1992.

News 3 - 9th BRICS Summit in China

BRICS

The 9th annual BRICS summit (Sep 3-9) was held in Xiamen, China, the second time the China has hosted the summit after the 2011 summit.

The conference was attended by the heads of state of the five member states Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The theme of the summit was “Stronger Partnership for brighter Future”. At the end of summit, BRICS leaders adopted Xiamen declaration.

News 4 - IAEA Opens Atomic Fuel Reserve in Kazakhstan

IAEA

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) decided to open a low enriched Uranium bank in Kazakhstan to ensure the supply of nuclear fuel in the event of disruption due to political or market problems.

The bank has been established at the Ulba metallurgical plant in northern Kazakhstan. The reserve, will store 90 tons of low-enriched uranium (LEU), the essential ingredient needed to make the fuel for light-water nuclear reactors, which generate electricity.

News 5 - YouTube changed its Logo for the First Time

YouTube

YouTube has changed its iconic logo and introduced some major design changes to its desktop and mobile apps.

The logo ditches the red colour inside the “Tube” part of the name and places the now familiar play icon to the left side of the YouTube name.

Google said the change allows the YouTube logo to work better “across a variety of devices, even on smallest of screens”. The CEO of YouTibe is Susan D. Wojcicki.

News 6 - The 10th India-European Union Counter Terrorism Dialogue

India-European

The 10th India-European Union Counter Terrorism Dialogue was held at New Delhi.

During the Dialogue, both sides strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and underscored the need for deepening cooperation to combat terrorism in a long term, sustained and comprehensive manner. Both sides also agreed to identify relevant training programmes for capacity building of individuals on both sides working in the sphere of countering terrorism and violent extremism. The next India-European Union Counter Terrorism Dialogue will take place in Brussels in 2018.

News 7 - Indian-origin Yuvaraj Pillay appointed as Interim President of Singapore

Yuvaraj Pillay

An Indian-origin veteran civil servant, Joseph Yuvaraj Pillay, was appointed as Singapore's interim President. He took over from Tony Tan Keng Yam who completed a six-year term.

Mr Pillay is the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA). When the office of the President of Singapore is vacant, the first in line to exercise its powers is the CPA chairperson, followed by the Speaker of Parliament.

The nomination day for the Presidential election is September 13, followed by polling day on September 23.

News 8 - Five banks of BRICS nations sign pact for credit lines

Five Banks of BRICS

Five banks of the BRICS Bank Cooperation Mechanism have agreed to establish credit lines in the national currencies and cooperate on credit ratings. Brazilian Development Bank, Vnesheconom bank, Export-Import Bank of India, China Development Bank and Development Bank of South Africa signed the agreement in Beijing.

The agreement on credit ratings enables them to share information about internal credit ratings and rating assessment. Ahead of the BRICS summit, the New Development Bank (NDB) of the BRICS countries has approved 1.4 billion US dollar loans for sustainable development projects in India, Russia and China.

News 9 - Iran tests homegrown air defence system

Iran

Iran has tested its homegrown air defence system, designed to match the Russian S-300. Bavar-373 system is made completely in Iran and some of its parts are different from the S-300. All of its sub-systems have been completed and its missile tests have been conducted.

Bavar (which means "belief") is Tehran's first long-range missile defence system, and is set to be operational by March 2018. In 2010, Iran began manufacturing Bavar-373 after the purchase of the S-300 from Russia was suspended due to international sanctions.

News 10 - BRICS Summit adopted documents on cooperation in areas of Economy and Trade, Innovation and Customs

BRICS Summit

BRICS leaders signed four documents during the summit on Action Agenda on Economic and Trade Cooperation, which are − Innovation, Customs Cooperation and MOU with Development Bank on Strategic Cooperation.

The documents signed by the BRICS leaders are aimed at improving and broadening cooperation mechanism and promoting industrial and technical upgradation to enhance economic complementarities. The blocs also named Pakistan-based terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad as terrorist organizations and called for a comprehensive approach to combat terrorism.

News 11 - Documents signed in the presence of BRICS Leaders during BRICS Summit - 2017

BRICS Leaders

The following documents were signed in the presence of BRICS leaders during the 9th BRICS Summit − 2017 held in Xiamen City of China.

  • BRICS Action Agenda on Economic and Trade Cooperation

  • BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation (2017-2020)

  • Strategic Framework of BRICS Customs Cooperation

  • Memorandum of Understanding between the BRICS Business Council and the New Development Bank on Strategic Cooperation

News 12 - China to give $80 Million Funding Plan for BRICS

China

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced 500 million yuan ($76.4 million) for a BRICS economic and technology cooperation plan, and another $4 million for projects at the BRICS countries' New Development Bank.

The Chinese President urged the BRICS countries to increase cooperation in sectors such as trade and investment, monetary and finance, and sustainable development. The heads of state from the BRICS group of emerging economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa gathered in Xiamen to attend the BRICS Summit 2017.

News 13 - Nepal inked UN Development Assistance Plan

Nepal inked UN

Nepal has signed the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for a $635 million assistance package for 2018-2022 to lay out the country’s development strategy for the next five years aimed at assisting in four broad areas −

  • Inclusive economic growth
  • Social development
  • Resilience, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction
  • Governance, rule of law and human rights.
  • The package involves 26 individual UN agencies.

News 14 - Kenneth I. Juster nominated as U.S Ambassador to India

Kenneth I. Juster

The White House has nominated Kenneth I. Juster as the next U.S ambassador to India. The appointment will take effect once the U.S Senate confirms him. The post is vacant since January 20.

Prior to this, Juster is the Deputy Assistant to US President Donald Trump for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of his National Economic Council.

He would replace Richard Verma, if confirmed by the Senate.

News 15 - North Korea claimed successful test of hydrogen bomb

North Korea

North Korea claimed that it has again tested a hydrogen bomb underground that can be placed on an intercontinental ballistic missile. Geological agencies registered a manufactured quake in the northeast of the country.

Unlike the atomic bomb - the kind dropped on Japan by the US in the closing days of World War II − the hydrogen bomb can be 1,000 times more powerful. The hydrogen bomb, also called a thermonuclear bomb, uses fusion − or atomic nuclei coming together − to produce explosive energy.

News 16 - Sushma Swaraj attended the 3rd Eastern Economic Forum in Russia

Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj participated in third Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) 2017 held in Vladivostok.

The forum deliberated on pressing issues relating to global trade. Delegates from at least 24 countries attended the forum.

The Eastern Economic Forum is considered as the biggest international communication platform for cooperation between businesses leaders and senior government representatives from Russia, the Pacific Region and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

News 17 - China banned raising funds through Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies

China banned the practice of raising funds through cryptocurrencies. It also deemed the practice illegal. The regulators targeted the initial coin offerings (ICOs) − an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The regulator issued a statement to individuals and organizations who have completed ICO fundraisings to arrange to return funds. In total, $2.32 billion has been raised through ICOs, with $2.16 billion of that being raised since the start of 2017. UNESCO announces winners for Girls' and Women's Education Prize 2017.

News 18 - Donald Trump revokes Obama's amnesty program

Trump

US President Donald Trump scrapped the amnesty program of former President Barack Obama that granted work permits to immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children. The program was known as DACA (Deferred Action for Children Arrival).

The decision is likely to affect 800,000 undocumented workers including more than 7,000 Indian-Americans. India ranks 11th among countries of origin for DACA students, according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services statistics available till March 31, 2017.

News 19 - Swiss group named top 50 countries with high terrorism financing and money laundering risks

Swiss

A latest report by a Swiss group says Pakistan is among the top 50 countries with high terrorism financing and money laundering risks.

Basel assessed 146 countries regarding money laundering and terrorism financing risks before reaching its conclusion. Pakistan has been placed on the 46th position in the list. The 10 countries with the highest AML risk are Iran, Afghanistan, Guinea-Bissau, Tajikistan, Laos, Mozambique, Mali, Uganda, Cambodia and Tanzania, while the three lowest risk countries are Finland, followed by Lithuania and Estonia. India has been placed on 88th rank.

News 20 - India refused to sign Bali Declaration against Myanmar on Rohingyas

Bali

India has refused to be a part of Bali Declaration to show of solidarity with Myanmar since the declaration adopted at the conclusion of the Forum, was not in line with the agreed global principles of ‘sustainable development’. The declaration was adopted at conclusion of World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development held in Bali, Indonesia.

After the violence in Rakhine State of Myanmar, 1,25,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh. Rohingya is ethnic Muslim minority group living primarily in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state. Myanmar considers Rohingya’s as illegal Bengali immigrants.

News 21 - Prince Charles became longest-serving Prince of Wales

Prince Charles

Prince Charles became the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history.

He broke the record of Queen's Victoria's oldest son Albert, who went on to become King Edward VII after holding the title of Prince of Wales for more than 59 years before becoming monarch.

Prince Charles is the 21st Prince of Wales in the current line. The Prince of Wales is historically the title bestowed upon the heir to Britain's throne.

News 22 - China and Pakistan conduct Air Forces Joint Exercise

China and Pakistan

The air forces of China and Pakistan conducted a joint training exercise in China called as 'Shaheen VI'. The Shaheen series of exercises began in March 2011.

China deployed J-11 fighters, JH-7 fighter-bombers, KJ-200 AWACS aircraft and ground forces including surface-to-air missile and radar troops. The Chinese navy's aviation troops also participated in the training. The objective of the exercise was to build an excellent air force and improve capability to complete multiple tasks.

News 23 - IAU named two Pluto Mountains after Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary

IAU

The International Astronomical Union has announced that two mountain ranges on Pluto have been named after Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.

IAU is the internationally recognised authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features.

The mountain ranges have been named as Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes. Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest and return safely.

News 24 - Jordan launched Shara Forest Project

Jordan

The Sahara Forest Project Launch Station in Jordan was inaugurated on 7 September 2017 under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.

The project is spread in a area of 3-hectar and located outside the Jordanian port city Aqaba. It is financially supported by the Norwegian government and the European Union as the two largest donors. The project uses sun, saltwater, desert areas and CO2 to produce food, freshwater and clean energy.

News 25 - British Parliament passed EU Withdrawal Bill

British Parliament

The British Parliament has passed the EU Withdrawal Bill by 326 to 290 votes in a bid to extract the UK from EU law in time for Brexit.

The bill, which will end the supremacy of EU law in the UK, now moves onto its next Parliamentary stage. Previously referred to as the Great Repeal Bill, the EU Withdrawal Bill overturns the 1972 European Communities Act which took the UK into the then European Economic Community.

It will also convert all existing EU laws into UK law, to ensure there are no gaps in legislation on Brexit day.

News 26 - Ruling Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg claim second term in Norway

Erna Solberg

Norway's Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg claimed a second term after claiming victory in the country's general election. Ms Solberg's ruling coalition with the Progress Party won 89 of 169 seats.

Ms. Solberg became the first centre-right leader in three decades to be re-elected Norway's prime minister.Solberg has won credit for the upturn of the country. Norway's economy has the cushion of a sovereign wealth fund worth almost $1 trillion, the world’s biggest.

News 27 - UNSC unanimously adopted new sanctions against North Korea

UNSC

The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to impose new sanctions on North Korea. The council imposed a ban on the country’s textile exports and a ceiling on the country’s imports of crude oil. The new sanctions were imposed over North Korea's nuclear and missile programme.

It was the ninth set of UN sanctions imposed on North Korea. This resolution reduced about 30% of oil provided to North Korea by cutting off over 55% of refined petroleum products going to North Korea.

News 28 - London remains World’s Top Financial Center

London

According to the latest Global Financial Centres Index published by Z/Yen and the China Development Institute, London retained its crown as the world’s top financial centre. New York held on to second place followed by Hong Kong.

Mumbai has managed to get 60th rank in the list. Chinese financial Centres Shanghai is in sixth rank. This is the 22nd edition of Global Financial Centres Index. GFCI is updated twice a year in March and September.

News 29 - Halimah Yacob became first female President of Singapore

Halimah Yacob

Halimah Yacob became the first female President of Singapore and the first Malay head of state in 47 years.

Halimah was sworn in as country's eighth President. Yacob was certified by the Presidential Elections Commission as the only eligible candidate, and since she had no opponent, there was no election. This year's Presidential Election was reserved for Malay candidates. She meets the criteria set out for those in the public sector, having held office for at least three years as Speaker.

News 30 - New Guinness World Record set in Germany for tallest sandcastle

Tallest Sandcastle

A new Guinness World Record has been set in Germany for the tallest sandcastle, which measures a spectacular 16.68 metres and has broken the record held by celebrated Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik.

The enormous sandcastle is intricately decorated with images of tourist attractions from around the world, including Athens' Acropolis and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Using approximately 3,500 tonnes of sand, it took a team of artists almost a month to complete.

News 31 - Turkey inked deal to purchase Russian S-400 Missile Systems

Turkey

Turkey has signed a deal with Russia to buy S 400 Missile Defence Systems. It is Turkey’s first major arms purchase from Moscow. The deal has been valued at € 2.14bn. Turkey is a NATO member since 1952.

The S-400 Triumf has a range of 400km and can shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously, aiming two missiles at each one. It can target aircraft, cruise missiles, medium-range missiles, drones and other airborne surveillance systems. It uses four missiles with different ranges from 400km to 40km.

News 32 - Indian-American Raj Shah appointed as US President's spokesperson

Raj Shah

US President Donald Trump has appointed Indian-American Raj Shah as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Press Secretary. Mr Shah formerly served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director.

Hope Hicks will serve as Assistant to the President and Communications Director. Mercedes Schlapp will serve as Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications. Steven Cheung will serve as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Strategic Response.

News 33 - Indo-Sri Lanka Hindi conference organized at Kelaniya University near Colombo

Indo-Sri Lanka

An Indo-Sri Lanka Hindi conference was organized at Kelaniya University near Colombo on eve of Hindi Divas celebrations. The theme of conference was ‘Hindi E-learning: Identity and possibilities’. Kelaniya University is distinct as it has a full-fledged Hindi department, which offers courses ranging from degree to doctorate and research.

Hindi is quite popular among Sri Lankan youths and many of them are enrolled for special Hindi classes offered by Indian Cultural centre in Colombo.

News 34 - Peter Thomson of Fiji appointed as Special Envoy for Ocean

Peter Thomson

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Peter Thomson of Fiji as his Special Envoy for the Ocean. He will lead the United Nations advocacy and public outreach efforts inside and outside of the United Nations system.

As a civil servant in the Government of Fiji, Mr Thomson devoted many years of his life to working in the fields of rural development and then foreign affairs. He was also a Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations.

News 35 - New plastic Jane Austen 10-pound note launched in Britain

New Plastic Jane Austen

In Britain, a new plastic 10-pound note featuring renowned author Jane Austen has gone into circulation. Austen is the first female writer to feature on a British banknote, replacing a paper 10-pound note, which featured a portrait of naturalist Charles Darwin.

The new 'tenner' is the first British banknote with a tactile feature involving a series of raised dots in the top left-hand corner to help blind and partially sighted users. The move coincides with the 200th anniversary of the author's death.

News 36 - Former UN Secretary-General Bank Ki-Moon elected as Chair of IOC Ethics Commission

UN Secretary-General Bank

Former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon has been elected as Chair of the International Olympic Committee's ethics commission. Mr Ban replaces outgoing Chair Mr. Youssoupha Ndiaye (former President of the Constitutional Court of Senegal).

Mr. Ban was the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, from January 2007 to December 2016. The Commission includes four IOC Members, of whom one is a representative of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, and five independent personalities, including the Chair.

News 37 - External Affairs Minister attended UNGA Session in New York

UNGA

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj represented India at the annual UN General Assembly, UNGA session in New York, where she attended about 20 bilateral and trilateral meetings. She participated a high-level meeting regarding UN reforms, hosted by the US. India’s stand on UN reforms was that UN reforms should be “broad-based” and the changes should not be restricted to its Secretariat only.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj discussed issues of climate change, terrorism, people centric migration and peacekeeping.

News 38 - Russia and Iraq revived air relationship after 13-Year Freeze

Russia and Iraq

Russia and Iraq resumed their air relationship after thirteen years freeze. Russia discontinued its airline services since 2004, after US-led invasion in 2003 plunged the Arab country into war. Russian nationals can safely visit Iraq.

Since the two countries were in discussions since 2014, which led to the conclusions that passengers will be able to travel twice a week, with flights to and from Baghdad operating on Wednesday, and flights to Basra on Sunday.

News 39 - USA & UAE Joint Military Exercise named as Iron Union 5 held

USA and UAE

A joint military exercise of US and UAE's ground forces, named as ‘Iron Union 5’ was held in Abu Dhabi. The exercise was conducted with an aim to update and make armies more strong. This will also enhance international co-operation in joint military operations. Military exercise will improve military expertise, exchange training, and improve skills according to the latest advanced military systems.

UAE has been already conducting series named as Iron Claw exercises, for expertise in training and military.

News 40 - Mercedes Araoz Fernandez appointed as new Prime Minister of Peru

Mercedes Araoz Fernandez

Former Economy Minister of Peru Mercedes Araoz Fernandez was appointed as new Prime Minister of Peru, by President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. She has experience of working as a Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism.

Prior to this appointment, she was second Vice President of Peru. The position is vacant due to her incumbent as new Prime minister.

She has been an economist, a professor and a politician. She replaced Fernando Zavala as new Prime Minister of Peru.

News 41 - The 13th Inter-Governmental Commission Meeting in Kazakhstan

Inter-Governmental Commission

The 13th meeting of the India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) was held at Astana, Kazakhstan from 19-20 September 2017. The Indian delegation was led by Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan.

The delegations discussed the possibilities of expanding cooperation in E&P of hydrocarbons and investments infrastructure projects in oil & gas sector. They explored possibility of expanding the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) by linking it to the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran rail link.

News 42 - First US military base in Israel

First US Military

The US Army has opened its first military base in Israel. The first permanent base of the American army was established at the School of Air Defence.

Israel has bought 50 F-35 stealth fighters from the United States. Israel has a sophisticated anti-missile defence system, including the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets.

Israel is continuously improving the technology behind its anti-missile systems.

News 43 - India, Sri Lanka inked MoU to upgrade Thondaman Vocational Training Centre

India and Sri Lanka

India and Sri Lanka signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to upgrade Thondaman Vocational Training Centre at Hatton located in Nuwara Eliya district of the Island nation.

The upgradation of the center will be done using a grant of around nine crore rupees from the Government of India. The project includes construction of new infrastructure facilities as well as renovation of existing building. The project also includes supply of machinery, equipment & tools for the new courses, furniture and vehicles. Around 500 youth of Sri Lanka are going to be trained as skilled workers with suitable skills.

News 44 - World Health Organization grants $175,000 to Bangladesh

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization has released the first tranche of emergency funding of $175,000 to Bangladesh. World Health Organization, however, did not specifically mention the Rohingya refugees as the reason for the support. The WHO South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF) grant of $175,000 will support 20 mobile medical teams to provide essential services for at least two months.

According to the WHO, the ffund was given to provide lifesaving healthcare to the "vulnerable population" in Bangladesh's Cox Bazar. Over 410,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Cox's Bazar since August 25 after escaping Myanmar's military crackdown.

News 45 - WTO upgrades forecast of world trade at 3.6% in 2017

WTO

The World Trade Organisation has raised the estimate for growth in World Merchandise Trade Volume in 2017 to 3.6% from the previous 2.4%. The stronger-than-expected growth is driven by Asia and North America, where import demand is recovering from weak results in 2016.

According to the estimates, the ratio of trade growth to GDP growth should rise to 1.3 in 2017. WTO also forecast moderation of trade growth in 2018 to around 3.2% (the full range of the estimate being from 1.4% to 4.4%).

News 46 - China runs world’s fastest commercial bullet train

Fastest Commercial Bullet Train

China has launched the world's fastest commercially run bullet train after it restored the maximum speed of bullet trains on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway line to 350 kilometres per hour. The speed of the train was reduced to 300 kilometres per hour following the deadly accident in July 2011 that killed 40 people. The Fuxing trains are capable of top speeds of 400 kilometres per hour.

China has laid more than 20,000 kilometres (12,400 miles) of high-speed rail, with a target of adding another 10,000 kilometres (6,214 miles) by 2020.

News 47 - 50 countries sign UN Nuclear Ban Treaty

UN Nuclear Ban Treaty

Fifty nations have inked a UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Indonesia, Ireland, Guyana, Thailand and the Vatican had put their names to the treaty. All nations who have ratified the treaty would be barred from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, otherwise acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons “under any circumstances.”

Brazil was the first country to sign onto the ban. The assembly was part of the Peace Wave 2017 campaign, in which citizens start a chain of movements from Japan in hopes of realizing a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.

News 48 - Uber lost its license to operate in London

Uber

Transport for London has stripped off the licence of Uber to operate in London. TfL rejected Uber’s application to renew its licence was not being “fit and proper” private car hire operator. According to TfL, Uber's approach and conduct demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility.

Uber is planning to appeal the decision in the court. Almost 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers use the Uber app in London.

News 49 - Angela Merkel won 4th term as Chancellor of Germany

Angela Merkel

Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in Germany's election. Merkel’s Christian Democrat-led bloc took 32.5% to defeat Martin Schulz’s Social Democrats who got 20% votes. The anti-Islam, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) captured around 13 percent, catapulting it to become the country's third biggest political force.

Angela Dorothea Merkel has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She has also been the leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000.

News 50 - The seventh ASEM Economic Minister’s Meeting Held in South Korea

ASEM

The seventh ASEM Economic Ministers’ Meeting (EMM7) was held in Seoul, Korea. It was attended by economic and trade Ministers from 21 Asian countries and from 30 European countries. Theme for this year’s meeting was ‘Innovative Partnership for Inclusive Prosperity’.

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an exclusively Asian-European forum to enhance relations and various forms of cooperation between its partners. It was officially established on 1 March 1996 at the first summit in Bangkok, Thailand.

News 51 - Pakistan and Russia hold joint military drill

Pakistan and Russia

The second edition of DRUZBA 2017 (Friendship-2017), a joint military exercise between Special Forces of Pakistan and Russia was held in Minralney Vody, Russia. The exercise focussed on counter-terrorism operations, hostage and rescue, cordon and search operation.

The exercise aimed to enhance and further strengthen military ties between the two countries and share Pakistan Army’s experience in war against terrorism. Pakistan's army chief. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa is scheduled to visit Russia in October 2017.

News 52 - ‘Incredible India’ Campaign Launched in Cairo

Incredible India

The Embassy of India in Egypt has organised a month-long “Incredible India!” campaign in Cairo to attract Egyptian travellers and make them aware of magnificent holiday options in the country.

The campaign was organised in coordination with the India Tourism Office in Dubai, the Cairo Governorate, and the Cairo Public Transport Authority. As a part of the campaign, 12 buses of transport authority will display various tourist destinations in India, including culture, festivals, monuments, landscape, wildlife, people and food.

News 53 - Joao Lourenco becomes the new President of Angola in 38 years

Joao Lourenco

Joao Lourenco has been sworn in as president of Angola that makes him the first new leader in 38 years. He will replace outgoing president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Dos Santos had been the President of the nation since 1979 after the death of Angola's first president, Agostinho Neto.

Angola is Africa's second-largest oil producer, behind Nigeria. It is ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

News 54 - China operationalises stealth fighter J-20

China Operationalises

China has announced commissioning the radar-evading J-20 stealth fighter jets into military service. The flight tests of J-20 jets are being conducted as scheduled.

The J-20 is China's fourth-generation medium and long-range fighter jet. It made its maiden flight in 2011. It was first shown to the public at the 11th Airshow China in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province in November 2016.

The US air force operates the F-22 Raptor, which is the Fifth Generation Stealth Air Superiority Fighter.

News 55 - Twitter announced Test Project to expand tweets from 140 to 280 characters

Twitter

Twitter has announced a test project allowing tweets to be expanded to 280 characters, double the existing limit. A “small group” of users will see the new limits before the new changes are rolled out for all.

Twitter reported its base of monthly active users at 328 million compared to social network leader Facebook, which has some two billion users, and Facebook-owned Instagram, with 800 million.

Twitter reported a net loss of $116 million in the second quarter.

News 56 - Legislation introduced in House of Representative to support India’s Permanent Membership to UNSC

Legislation

An Indian-American Democratic lawmaker along with another member of the US House of Representatives, have introduced a legislation to support India’s permanent membership to the UN Security Council.

The legislation was introduced by Congressman Ami Bera and Congressman Frank Pallone. Bera is the Vice Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and longest serving Indian American in Congress. The bill was introduced on the last day of the UN General Assembly session in New York.



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